A Makeup Guide to Travelling

Makeup is one of the hardest things to pack for when you’re traveling. You have to limit yourself to smaller products (if you’re not checking a bag – I never do), and you never want to overpack. Personally, when it comes to makeup and skincare I’d always rather overpack than under pack, but I hate unnecessarily bringing things that I don’t use, it’s just wasted space in my bag! Without further ado, these are the must-haves for a versatile travel-sized makeup bag.

Your Carry-On

I tend to only bring carry-ons because you’ll never catch me paying to check a bag, so this refers to the bag you’ll keep under the seat in front of you. I keep the makeup that I might want while traveling in this bag, and the ‘necessities’ because even though I don’t check a bag, I’m still paranoid all my stuff will disappear when it’s out of my line of sight. Generally, my go-to makeup products are concealer, lipstick, and mascara – these are small enough to keep in the backpack under my seat. If somehow my bigger bag does disappear, I know I can get by with just these three things.

Your Luggage

This is where I pack all the makeup products that spiffy up my face. I generally try to keep it to minimum because there’s nothing I hate more than lugging something around that I’m not using. I trial my “face” with the makeup I’m bringing before I go to make sure it’s just right, and I try to bring things that I can use in more than one way. I bring a blush that is lip + cheek stain, that way it doubles as a lip colour (plus it lasts way longer than regular blush). I also pack a liquid highlighter, because, again, it lasts longer, I can double it as a eyeshadow highlight, AND I don’t have to run the risk of breaking a panned highlighter. I generally don’t pack any foundation but I only really get breakouts in specific areas, and I can cover them with concealer. Though airplane air is horrible on my skin, (if I’m going somewhere hot) I know the sun will makeup for it in the coming days. My skin looks SO much nicer when it’s had some sun, but everyone’s skin is different!
The most important thing in this bag is my primer – it’s the barrier between my face and my makeup, and the one thing that will prevent a breakout on days when all the walking makes me sweat through my makeup. Am I the only one who has this problem while travelling? Maybe. I don’t think so, but maybe. The primer ensures that not only does my makeup last better through that glorious glow (aka sweat), but I don’t wake up with a breakout the next day.
I pack a second concealer in my luggage as I usually use two different concealers – one to cover/correct, and another to highlight. I also pack one face palette and one eyeshadow palette, the face palette is my Cocoa Contour palette – it has bronzer/contour, and highlight/pressed powder all in one. The eyeshadow palette varies depending on what I’ve been using, last time I brought my Nars Wanted palette, but to be totally honest I could easily get by with just using the Cocoa Contour palette for eyeshadow too. I sometimes also pack a second mascara, just because I always use two in case one runs out or starts clumping my lashes.

The last time I traveled I packed a liquid eyeliner. Usually I never bother with liquid liner when travelling because it leaves a little residue the next day and makes me look more tired. On a day to day basis, I’m not okay with this because I don’t wear makeup every day, but I realized that on holidays I always wear makeup (all those pictures!), so I can easily cover the residue with concealer (this sounds gross, whoops)! PLUS, in my humble opinion, liner easily makes up for a full eyeshadow look. If I do a little wing it makes me look a little ‘fancier’ without a lot of effort, and I don’t need to use more than two shadows to give my eye more shape and definition.
Brows are important, they’re like the curtains of the face… or is that bangs? Whatever, they’re important. They frame the face. They make or break you. I’m big into natural looking brows, (aka my brows probably look atrocious to you because I don’t do anything to tame them, I just fill them in). I always bring a brow pencil to fill those suckers in, and a then top them with a brow mascara. Brow mascara is a must because there’s nothing more annoying to me than having my brows out of place, especially in pictures.
The last thing I bring is a handful of lip colours. I only bring matte lipsticks because they last the longest, so I just make sure to pack a lip balm to make up for the dryness. I like to have a red (it’s a must!) and a nude at the bare minimum. Adding a colour to your lip pulls a look together! No matter what you do to the rest of your face, it doesn’t look done unless you’ve got a lip on. Say all you’re wearing is concealer and mascara, but wait! Then you pop a red lip on and !BOOM! It looks intentional. It looks like you’re making a ~look~ when all you’re trying to do is the bare minimum. Red lipstick is magic I tell you!


The only ‘tool’ I bring is my eyelash curler. I have long lashes, but they’re really straight. There’s pretty much no point in me even wearing mascara without an eyelash curler, because you can hardly seen any difference! I don’t bring any brushes, and if I do it’s a two ended eyeshadow brush, but I try to just bring products that I can apply with my fingers. My contour palette has a brush in it for the contour, the only brush I really miss sometimes it the one I use to apply the light colour/pressed powder, I think in the future I’ll bring a brush for that, it’s pointless to try to do it with your fingers.

Makeup Remover 

Essential to any travel makeup bag is remover. You do NOT want to sleep with your makeup on and run the risk of getting a break out. Last time I tried something different and got a 10 pack travel sized package of makeup wipes. I tend to really really hate makeup wipes because they sting my face and never take all the makeup off, but it was convenience over anything else. Next time, I’m going to bring a muslin cloth and a travel sized makeup remover – the kind you get when you’re picking samples at the check out at Sephora. I can’t decide if makeup wipes or travel sized plastic containers are worse for the environment. Thoughts? Is there an alternative I’m not thinking of?



This picture is 100% unfiltered, taken on my iPhone 6+ after a morning of sweating it up walking around downtown Havana. You can also get a good idea of what it looks like by watching my Cuba vlogs!

What are your makeup must haves for traveling? Everyone’s skin has different needs, so do trial runs with what you’re bringing to make sure it works for you! There’s nothing worse than worrying about how you look when you’re traveling, or having skin problems and then having to try to find a pharmacy to help you out! Always make sure to bring and wear sunscreen when you’re traveling to sunny places, if not I just try to find makeup or moisturizers that have SPF in it (currently failing on this front…).

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  1. I definitely need makeup remover and a small makeup bag when I’m travelling. If I carry too much, it just becomes overwhelming!! It sounds like you had a busy morning, but your makeup looks gorgeous! Really great post, Sabrina!! 💓


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